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We Can't Breathe Without The Sea

9th December 2015
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The dominant subject in the past week has been the weather – pictures on television and in the newspapers of water pouring through streets, into houses, shops, stranded cars and so on – bringing in its wake flooding, destruction, tragedy in its effects on people’s lives. I have heard from seafarers who faced appalling conditions at sea - winds gusting from 50 miles an hour, up to 100, accompanied by massive seas, huge waves. Nightly on television the weather maps have shown where it was all coming from – across the oceans – spinning over the Atlantic, moving in the jet stream, lashing the first land mass it encountered, THIS ISLAND NATION…..

SHERKIN ISLANDSherkin Island in West Cork

Nature does show us humans at times just how little we can control her moods and what can be unleashed upon us and I wonder if people fully realise the importance of the oceans.

Matt Murphy lives on one of our offshore islands which felt the first lash of the gales in the past week. That’s Sherkin Island off Baltimore in West Cork where he founded and has run the Sherkin Marine Station for 40 years and was an early exponent of the need to be aware of climate change:

Matt outlined his views to me in an interview which you can hear on the audio Podcast of THIS ISLAND NATION above.

MATT MURPHY OF SHERKIN ISLAND MARINE STATIONMatt Murphy

I attended a seminar in Dublin a fortnight ago as part of the Sea for Society programme, which is an extensive European Commission project, promoting the opportunities in the seas, but also warning about the threats to them from human behaviour. The seas, the oceans are a marvellous place, so vital to our human welfare, but at the seminar I wondered if those of us who are aware of the maritime importance in life are talking to ourselves and that the message may not be getting through to the public at large. Have you ever listened, really listened, to the sounds of the ocean?

It is worth listening to these unusual sounds, which you can hear on the Podcast. For example, have you ever heard the sound a haddock makes?

DR.PETER HEFFERNAN CEO MARINE INSTITUTEDr. Peter Heffernan

Those sounds should, surely, make one think about life in the oceans and men like Dr.Peter Heffernan do. He is Chief Executive of the Marine Institute which carried out a seabed survey between Newfoundland and Ireland in the past year.

He summarised for me the importance of the oceans:

You can hear Peter Heffernan outline in the Podcast why “every time we breathe… we need the sea….”

Indeed we do …. Let’s remember that…….

Published in Island Nation
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